Good morning. This morning I’m going to introduce the practice of maitri. I believe you were all given a hand-out that has on one side, The Four Limitless Ones, and on the other side, Limitless Maitri and Limitless Compassion practice. So first, if you would look at The Four Limitless Ones.
During this weekend, because of the very limited time, I’m going to spend most of the time on maitri and compassion. But, I’d like to read this to you:
May all beings enjoy happiness and the root of happiness.
This first line refers to maitri.
May we be free from suffering and the root of suffering.
And this second line refers to compassion.
May we never be separated from the great happiness devoid of suffering.
This refers to joy.
May we dwell in the great equanimity, free from passion, aggression and prejudice.
This refers to equanimity.
These are the four qualities that we’re going to be working with for these two days. And the notion is that each of us has these qualities already, but possibly in a rather limited amount. When they’re called The Limitless Ones, it’s based on the premise that we start with the amount we have, no matter how limited it is, and we begin to nurture what we have, and then it will expand by itself until it’s actually limitless, beyond limits. As an experience, this is really to say that we touch in with what we already have. Then we begin to train in a way that, for the rest of our lives as we gradually work with this, it begins to expand far beyond what now seems possible, or even reasonable.
The practice I’m going to introduce this morning is The Limitless Maitri practice. It begins with developing maitri towards oneself by using the first line of the chant and changing it slightly to say, “May I enjoy happiness and the root of happiness.” In the second stage, developing maitri towards someone who you already feel gratitude or appreciation or love for them.
Last night, they made the announcement to ask you to make two lists, and this morning we’re going to make use of one of those lists.
About Gratitude and Appreciation
The first list was to just come up with at least one person or animal, that when you think of them now, right now today, that you already feel gratitude or appreciation or love—some sense of good heart towards this person just arises when you think of them. The reason I give it as like a homework assignment, and asked them to announce it last night, is because people have a lot of problems with this one. The second one, the compassion for people, sometimes is simpler, but this one is very difficult for a lot of people, for a lot of us.
visit Pema Chödrön to read more.